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Winter Tree Care Tips: Tree Disease & Pest Prevention

It’s no secret that a Lake Minnetonka winter is harsh, with temperatures regularly below freezing and an average snowfall as high as 70 inches each year.

When it comes to maintaining healthy trees in those conditions, it’s important to inspect your trees regularly and know what to look for in terms of diseases and pests.

Professional arborists can inspect your trees, provide any needed treatment and care, and give guidance for the future health of your trees.

Common Tree Diseases and Pests in Minnesota

Some tree diseases and pests are worse in the winter, while others survive the cold months and show damage in the spring and summer.

Dutch Elm Disease 

DED is caused by a fungus that is spread by bark beetles. Infected elms native to Minnesota may wilt and die in a single season if infected in the spring and summer.

Trees may survive the winter if they’re infected in the fall but die the following spring without treatment.

Signs of DED include:

  • Yellowing of the tree’s outer crown
  • Wilting of the tree’s outer crown
  • Browning of the tree’s outer crown
  • Falling leaves

Emerald Ash Borer 

EAB is an invasive insect with metallic green wings whose larvae burrow and feed off ash tree bark in mid-May to late June.

These insects can survive through the winter and spend the season beneath the tree’s bark.

Symptoms of emerald ash borer include:

  • Cracks near the tree’s lowest branches
  • Canopy limbs breaking near the trunk
  • Yellowing leaves
  • Canopy or bark loss
  • D-shaped holes in the bark

Bronze Birch Borer

Bronze birch borer is a pest whose larvae form galleries under the bark of trees where they spend two winters, emerging as adults the second spring.

This pest typically targets trees already suffering from drought, defoliation, or old age.

Signs of bronze birch borer include:

  • Branch decline
  • Degenerating tree top
  • Small, D-shaped holes on tree branches or trunks

Bur Oak Blight

Bur oak blight is a fungal disease that can plague bur oaks for years. The disease remains on weakened trees during the winter and infects newly emerging leaves in the spring.

Symptoms of bur oak blight usually become visible in July, such as:

  • Dark veins on leaves’ undersides
  • Brown areas between the veins
  • Black “pimples” on the stalks that connect leaves to their stems

Apple Scab

Apple scab is a fungal disease that primarily affects areas where apples are grown, creating lesions on the fruit that will progress to scabs.

This disease can survive the winter on fallen leaves and fruit and easily spread to nearby trees in early spring. This disease can severely weaken trees and cause poor-quality fruit.

Symptoms of apple scab include:

  • Velvety, circular lesions on leaves and apples
  • Curled, puckered, or torn leaves
  • Leaves that fall out of season

Magnolia Scale

Magnolia scale are large soft-scale insects that feed off the sap of magnolia trees, causing stress and damage to trees that may eventually kill them.

They spend winters as eggs or tiny, dark-colored larva on small twigs and begin to feed and mature in spring.

Signs of magnolia scale include:

  • Yellowing leaves
  • Twigs dying starting at the tips
  • White lumps that look like a fungus

Treating and Preventing Diseased Trees

Trees aren’t just beautiful additions to your home; they’re investments in your property. The best way to manage many of these diseases and pests is maintenance and prevention, like winter pruning.

Emery’s Tree Service offers plant health care services and has over 40 years of experience and expertise in the Lake Minnetonka and Twin Cities areas. Our ISA-certified arborists can treat any existing issues and help prevent future diseases and pests.

To keep your trees protected this winter and for years to come, call the trained technicians at Emery’s Tree Service at 952-955-1848 or contact us online.

What To Expect

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Our ISA-certified arborists are continuously trained in the most up-to-date industry techniques and technologies.

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to Community

We’ve proudly served the region for more than 40 years and are deeply committed to the Lake Minnetonka community.

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Our team is committed to your 100% satisfaction with every service we provide.

Upfront Pricing

We offer 100% price transparency so our customers always know what to expect.

Trained Technicians

Our ISA-certified arborists are continuously trained in the most up-to-date industry techniques and technologies.

Commitment to Community

We’ve proudly served the region for more than 40 years and are deeply committed to the Lake Minnetonka community.

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Thank you for the wonderful service. Your employee were upbeat, professional and safe. The left my property clean and me very satisfied. Please use me for a reference.

Mike MacDonald

My husband and I would like to thank all your crew members for the fantastic job they did to remove the two large trees at our place (1884 Walnut Street, Lauderdale) today.  We were very impressed...

Yumiko & Jim Kindler

They came, they sawed, they conquered my unruly tree’s wildness. I felt like a mother watching her firstborn get her first haircut. A wonderful crew. Thanks again for your help. Please pass my grati...

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